Summer has arrived! The sun is shining and the temps are rising here in our little South Okanagan “pocket desert.”
If you are itching to load up and hit the open road to somewhere hot and sunny with heaps of fun things to do and delicious things to sip and eat, be inspired to set your autopilot enroute to Oliver, BC. It’s time to start planning your summer vacation now!
We’ve got another fantastic itinerary planned for our summer visitors!
Eat, Sip, Stay & Do In Canada’s “Pocket Desert”!
BBQ Premium Quality Cuts From Black Sage Butcher
Black Sage Butcher, located right in the heart of Oliver, not only sells quality fresh grade A meats but you will also find house-made sausages plus you can request custom cuts.
Matt Leyes and Ravina Johal, shown below, own and operate Black Sage Butcher. They get all of their meat from BC, mostly from the coast, with very few exceptions. They also process most of their meat in-house.
Furthermore, these two are big on supporting other local businesses. That’s the way business culture is here in Oliver as you can see below. These are businesses supporting each other and Tourism here in Oliver. So great!
These featured Black Sage Butcher barbecue favourites include the seasoned and grill-ready Pork Axe. You need a good hungry belly to eat all this!
Sausages have never tasted so good! These are the mouth-watering Spinach and Feta Pork Sausage and the Sundried Tomato and Sage Chicken Sausage.
Keeping the delicious sausages company on this plate is a juicy beef back rib with Frenched bone, aka the Prime Rib Pop.
There’s nothing like freshly barbecued meat to set the stage for a fun friendly feast with your besties!
We also enjoyed popular barbecue side dishes including the sweetest corn on the cob and my mom’s potatoe salad recipe made with potatoes and farm fresh eggs purchased from Nature’s Basket in town. The corn came from there too!
If you have access to a kitchen (you will if you stay here at The Lodge at Gallagher Lake) you can craft your desert country barbecue with fresh South Okanagan ingredients!
Enjoy Delicious Local Ice Cold Drinks!
What’s a barbecue without your favourite delicious ice-cold bevvies? We’ve got a few suggestions if you’re planning to barbecue here in beautiful Oliver BC.
Firehall Brewery, located right on Highway 97 in Oliver is an upbeat and welcoming place to relax and have a good cold craft beer.
You can also buy off sales in bottles, and cans — perfect for summer adventures on a private beach or up a mountain!
Firehall Brewery has a fun story too. Er…maybe not so fun if back in the day you owned one of the old historic buildings that was claimed by one of the fires that sometimes sparked up in this semi-arid landscape. Firehall Brewery, owned and operated by Sid & Marie-Eve Ruhland, was established inside Oliver’s original “Old Firehall”. Sid, who is also Brew Chief, has had a long-time love for a good brew. He first began brewing inside the college dorms in Kelowna!
Their “thirst-extinguishing” beers have been named appropriately and include such deliciousness as Stoked Ember Ale, Holy Smoke Stout, Backdraft Blonde, and False Alarm Bitter. They also brew small batches including White Hat Witbier and “Damn Near Kilt ‘Em” Scotch Ale and, during Festival of the Grape, they make a special brew combining Backdraft Blonde with Merlot wine.
It’s an upbeat environment built on a love for a good brew and good music. You can enjoy such fun as their Beer Shop Social and other events throughout the season. Stay tuned to their events page for upcoming events as soon as restrictions ease.
Howling Moon Craft Cider
Kate and Nik Durisek, the innovative masterminds behind Howling Moon Craft Cider, grow and process their cider the old fashioned way but add a little twist to the process. They ferment their heritage apples with other fruits and botanicals to produce some wonderfully interesting flavours including Lemon Hops, Spiced Cherry, Cucumber Mint, Blackberry Sage, Lavender Plum, and Vanilla Peach.
Whatever your preference, you’ll find deliciously dry, semi-dry, and semi-sweet smooth ciders. And of course if you love the traditional apple, you can get that too!
This summer you can enjoy your cider tasting in their spacious cider garden.
You can also pair your cider with yummy treats including Instant Pot Carnitas, Soft Chewy Pretzels, and Scotish Shortbread.
Or, of course, you can purchase off-sales to enjoy at an off-site location such as The Lodge At Gallagher Lake!
Dubh Glas Distillery
Another nice sipping option for a barbecue is a smooth single malt whisky or refreshing gin and tonic.
The name Dubh Glas meaning “from the dark water” is reflective of the source water used in the process of making their gin and whisky.
Grant Stevely, the owner and artisan behind Dubh Glas Disitllery, sources his pure ‘dark’ water from a well fed by an underground aquifer, perhaps the same dark water that also feeds beautiful and clear Gallagher Lake. This water is completely free of pollutants and surface contamination.
Imagine relaxing on a warm dock while sipping a whisky or digging your toes into the hot sand while enjoying a delicious gin and tonic, the ice cubes clinking away gently. Sounds peaceful, right?
Stay At Gallagher Lake Lodge
If a road trip to Canada’s “pocket desert” sounds like a fun family adventure, Gallagher Lake Lodge situated on spring-fed Gallagher Lake is the perfect semi-arid desert oasis to set up your temporary home away from home.
It also sits across from a gigantic rock bluff that catches the radiant afternoon sunshine and holds the heat until late into the evening.
This lodge has a perfect little private beach and dock where you can relax or scoop up a boat. They’ve got many options including peddle boats, paddle boards, row boats, kayaks and canoes.
There are also lots of water toys and lawn games to keep everyone of all ages entertained.
If you love fishing, Gallagher Lake is stocked with Big Mouth Bass and other species.
It is a deep lake that was carved out by a glacier eons ago. It is now fed by an underground spring. The water is incredibly clear and looks so inviting! When the mid-afternoon sun gets hot, this clear aqua lake, is a refreshing reprieve.
There is no public access to Gallagher Lake so you’re sure to have the peace and quiet that you’ve been itching to escape to.
The lodge has eleven rooms, all with a Gallagher Lake view, and four cabins only a 30-second walk to the private beach.
And, for those hot days when you want some inside relaxation time, all units have air conditioning, and free cable TV and WIFI.
All units also have full kitchens or kitchenettes and access to BBQ’s. Or, if you want to take your meal to the lower beach deck, you can do that too!
Be sure to book well in advance as this gem is not hidden! It books up!
Explore Canada’s “Pocket Desert”!
If you’re planning to stay in Canada’s pocket desert, why not go explore and learn about it too?
Osoyoos Desert Centre is a perfect, and accessible, place for everyone to explore whether you have a stroller, wheel chair, or you are going to use your own two feet.
You can book a guided tour or you can go on your own self-guided tour along 1.5 kilometres of boardwalk.
This region has one of the rarest ecosystems in the world! At the Osoyoos Desert Centre you will learn all about the beauty and diversity of this unique desert environment.
You’ll see and learn about the flora including cactus, antelope brush, and loads of other desert wildflowers.
You will also learn about the creatures that call it home including various snakes and insects like the rattlesnake and preying mantis, many bird species, rabbits, and even about the symbiotic relationship between the badger and coyote!
If you’re lucky, you may even spot something like this little blue bird sitting on top of a sign about it. As you can see, it’s a popular perch so you never know, you may just spot one here too!
For the self-guided tour, stop at the numbered stones along the path and open up your booklet to the corresponding number to learn all about the environment around you.
You’ll find interpretive signs along the way as well as pergolas where you can catch a bit of shade while learning about the flora and fauna of this special region.
When you’re finished exploring the boardwalk, take a stroll through the native plant garden and check out the displays in the interpretive building.
The Osoyoos Desert Centre is a wonderful place to spend time exploring and learning about the region you’ve chosen to vacation in.
Just remember to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, and bring water! It’s a very hot and sunny place in summer.
Get In Touch and Plan Ahead!
With Oliver and the South Okanagan being predicted the number one place to vacation in Canada this season, it’s best to plan ahead!
Get in touch with accommodation providers soon so you’re sure to have a place to stay. We look forward to seeing you here in Canada’s beautiful Wine Capital this season!
Download: A Desert Oasis & BBQ Itinerary